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Research Guides

Why Use Newspapers & Magazines


Newspapers are a primary source providing a first rough draft of events. Since most newspapers are local in scope, there is good coverage of local issues. Newspapers also provide a good feel for the time period.

Popular magazines (news, fashion, sports, etc.) also provide a good feel for the period. However since most magazines are national in scope, there is limited coverage of local topics. In addition to the articles, the illustrations and advertisements that are imbedded in magazines are useful primary sources especially for the study of consumerism, gender roles, material culture and popular culture.

Most older newspapers do not include indexing. Usually you will need to browse through issues of a newspaper to discover its content. Newspapers on microfilm are kept in the Microforms & Newspaper Collections on the ground floor of Suzzallo.

Keep in mind changes in terminology (both topical and geographical) when searching for articles in the past. For example use Burma rather than Myanmar.

For more information on using newspapers as primary sources see: Analyzing Newspapers & Newspapers. Also see Learning to Do Historical Research: Prowling the Periodicals.

Magazines: Indexes & Collections

The following list includes both indexes to magazines (helps you identify citations to specific articles written on a topic within a group of magazines but does not include the fulltext) and collections of fulltext magazines. If the fulltext is not available use UW Libraries Search and search for the title of the magazine to see if we have a copy.